I am From by Laxmi Aryal
I am from a place with green mountains and gentle hills,
Where the incessant wind blows like windmills.
I am from a place were the cows and goats graze and where kids and calves jump and roam.
Carefree like those animal friends, we played with dirt, did chores in our pretend home.
I am from a place of extreme contrast, many different norms, food, costumes and cultures we hold dear.
Where people greet you with smiles on their faces, welcoming anyone from far away or near.
I am from a place of festivals, Dasain (1) and Tihar awaited by children, adults and all.
Enjoying ‘masu chiura’ (2), and playing the “ping” (3) all day until nightfall.
I am from a place that resembles centuries past, yet the future is coming fast in these modern days.
But, the things that my parents and grandparents did, for many, are still their ways.
I am from a place of my grandfather, the learned, with a gentle nature and a soothing voice.
Where my father made me the first girl to attend school and gave me a choice.
I am from a place where grandfather’s verses read, “Education is the best of all wealth”.
That multiplies as you share, and not even the kings can confiscate through force or through stealth.
“Na chora haryam, na cha Raja haryam, na bhratri bhajyam, na cha bharakari,
Byaye krite bhardhta aba nityam, Vidya dhanam sarba dhanam pradhanam” (4).
(1) Dasain and Tihar are two major festivals
(2) Masu chieura – meat and beaten rice eaten as special food during Dasain.
(3) Ping – a large rope swing assembled in four bamboo poles, two poles on each side connected by a sturdy log tied with rope where the large rope is hung sturdy enough for two adults to swing high at a time.
(4) The essence of the verses is:
Thief can not steal, king cannot confiscate,
Brother can not claim his share, neither is heavy to carry,
The more you spend the more it grows, education (Vidhya) is the wealth
That is the greatest of all wealth.